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DVD Review


Review by Pat Benny

BORN IN THE HONEY                                 

The Pinetop Perkins StoryPinetop Perkins Review

DVD/CD Review by Pat Benny


If you've never seen Pinetop Perkins perform, you have only yourself to blame; you certainly can't blame him.  Pinetop Perkins was born Joe Willie Perkins in July, 1913, on the Honey Island Plantation in Belzoni, Mississippi.  Pinetop always maintained that he was "Born in the honey," hence the name of this wonderful DVD.


This recording is a beautiful sixty minute biography of one of the greatest legends of the Blues.  The scenery is breathtaking, featuring, photographs and film of the Mississippi Delta.  The voiceover is concise and informative, and chronicles the impoverished and tumultuous beginning of Perkins' life to his present success as one of the finest living pianist in the business.


Yes, at the distinguished age of 94, Pinetop is not only still with us, he continues to play his distinctive style of piano to audiences around the country.  He is as sharp and lucid as a man half his age, and a wealth of information about the Mississippi Delta; the times, the way of life and most importantly, his memories of some of the great founders of the Blues.  Indeed, without Pinetop Perkins, there would be very little knowledge of Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, and Robert Nighthawk, to name just a few.  While watching this DVD, one has the feeling of sitting on the porch alongside Pinetop as he speaks candidly of picking cotton for fifty cents a day, finding an audience to perform to, and making a little moonshine to supplement his income and provide some pleasure during those difficult years.


The recording progresses through a series of interviews with longtime friends and fellow musicians of the present day. Ike Turner, Bobby Rush, Kim Wilson and others provide interesting and sometimes amusing tales of Pinetops exploits.  Again, the production values are superb as Pinetop is seen performing onstage at various venues.


Included with the DVD is a bonus CD recording of a live performance in Chicago, featuring nine tracks and a previously unreleased track.  The music is beautifully reproduced for the CD, but it is unfortunate that the date and venue isn't mentioned.


The Blues is not only a musical genre, it is a form of history, a part of Americana in which Pinetop Perkins is an integral part.  If you love the Blues, if you love history, your library will not be complete without these recordings.   


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